How to choose accommodation that won’t give you sleepless nights

Finding the right accommodation when travelling can be verwhelming! Fortunately, South Africa boasts an extensive range of options for any traveller – whether it's for business or pleasure, or perhaps a bit of both….

For both the business and the individual traveller, sourcing the best place to stay means balancing many factors such as comfort, convenience, amenities, location, security and budget. Let’s take a look at the most popular accommodation choices, highlighting some benefits and disadvantages of each.


Hotels are the most common choice for many travellers due to their availability and convenience. They offer an extensive range of room types, from standard to luxury suites, catering to different budgets and preferences. Many of the world’s most reputable brands are represented throughout the country, and quality is not in short supply.

Generally, hotels also offer benefits such as:

  • A wide range of on-site conveniences includes 24/7 staffing, express check-ins, shuttle services, room service, concierge assistance, fitness centres, spas, and restaurants.
  • Reward programmes for frequent guests.
  • Peace of mind is linked to a brand promise in terms of reliability, quality, services, and amenities.
  • Secure access points and safe parking. 

For businesses booking hotel accommodation through a reputable travel management company, there are several advantages when using hotel accommodation:

  • A billback facility – accommodation can be booked and paid for after the trip using the billback arrangements between hotel suppliers and travel management companies.
  • Quality Assurance – travel management companies vet hotels to ensure that travellers and business expectations are met.
  • Accountability – Strong supplier relationships are established between hotel groups and travel management companies. This ensures accountability and recourse for the business and its travellers.

Some possible disadvantages to consider:

  • Hotels, especially higher-end establishments, tend to be more expensive than other options, which can strain your travel budget without pre-negotiated rates and deals.
  • With a large number of guests, some hotels can lack a personalised touch and a sense of local charm for those travellers who value these aspects.

Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts (B&Bs):

Guesthouses and B&Bs are a popular choice for travellers seeking a more personalised and intimate experience. These accommodations are often run by local hosts who provide a home-from-home experience. Some of the benefits of choosing a guest house include:

  • Owners and staff who prioritise personalised attention and are readily available to assist travellers with any requests or inquiries.
  • Common areas where guests can mingle and socialise, creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Booking and billback facilities that make administration easier.

In addition, the guesthouse industry provides your business with the ideal platform to support small to medium business growth in the hospitality industry. This has real meaning regarding socio-economic impact and is beneficial in meeting your B-BBEE goals.

However, there are a few potential disadvantages to consider:

  • When compared to hotels, guesthouses may have fewer amenities and services. While this can add to their charm, it’s important to ensure that the essential amenities are available for a comfortable stay.
  • Guesthouses are typically smaller than hotels with a more limited number of rooms. So, it’s advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.


Airbnb has revolutionised the way people seek accommodation. This alternative accommodation option has both benefits and disadvantages, ranging from private rooms to entire homes. On a positive note:

  • Travellers can find unique and diverse accommodations to cater to individual tastes. From cosy apartments in bustling city centres to secluded houses in the picturesque countryside, Airbnb provides various options.
  • Staying in an Airbnb also allows travellers to experience the local culture and lifestyle firsthand, as hosts often provide valuable insights and recommendations about the surrounding area.
  • Airbnb accommodation tends to be more affordable than traditional hotels, especially for larger groups or longer stays. This can be particularly advantageous for budget-conscious travellers or the smaller business that needs to make the most of their travel funds.

A few potential drawbacks to consider when booking an Airbnb:

  • Buying power – supplier negation is a key element of any sound travel management programme. While Airbnb may appear cheaper on the day, it is vital to compare this against overall cost savings achievable using corporate agreements with hotel or guest house programmes.   
  • Duty of care – ensuring the safety of business travellers is always paramount. This can be challenging in the unstructured and less formal environment of Airbnb.
  • Quality standards – Since each property is individually owned and managed, the cleanliness, amenities, and customer service standards can vary. This uncertainty can sometimes lead to unpleasant surprises for guests.

So what’s best?

Regardless of your business and individual traveller priorities, the South African accommodation market has something for everyone. Travel policy guidelines, balanced constructively with traveller preferences, are the key drivers in choosing the right option.

Ask us at Harvey World Travel how to make managing accommodation arrangements simple and stress-free.